Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Don't Believe in Ghosts

Of course not.

"Bloody Lane"  Antietam
But, to be totally honest, I sometimes get unexplained chills up my spine when visiting historical sites; Especially Civil War Sites.

Standing in the middle of "Bloody Lane" on the Antietam Battle field was almost painful. I'm sure it wasn't caused by "ghosts," but my own awareness of what happened there.

Nevertheless, I never tire of visiting Civil War sites.

A few years ago, I was driving back from a business meeting in Richmond when I spotted a sign just before  Fredericksberg pointing to the Stonewall Jackson Shrine, which is a fancy name for the farmhouse where Stonewall Jackson died.

Jackson had been wounded by "friendly fire" from members of the 18th NC regiment, led by John D. Barry who died two years later at age 27 according to his family as a direct consequence of his guilt and depression over his role in Jackson's death. This happened during the Battle of Chancellorsville when Jackson had his men continue fighting even after dark, which was unusual during the Civil War.

House where Jackson Died
It was dusk when I pulled off I-95 onto the road that led to the tiny community of Guinea, VA, which as far as I could determine is little more than a few houses and a stop sign. All of the National Parks have signs that announce they are closed after dark, and I was definitely pushing the envelope.  But there were no barriers to the entrance of the small parking lot, so I pulled right in. There were no other cars there either, nor did I see anyone. All I saw was a small white house, which according the the historical marker at the entrance to the parking lot was the house where Stonewall Jackson died.

In spite of the fact that all signs indicated that the "shrine" was closed, I tried the door anyway, and to my surprise it was unlocked. I went in thinking a park ranger must still be there. But got no response to my "Hello, anybody home?  

So, feeling like I really shouldn't be doing this, I became my own "tour director."  The room where
Bed where Stonewall died
Jackson died was well marked, indicating that the Clock, the meager furniture and the bed were all original and in their original positions.

It was in this room, and this bed, where Jackson uttered his famous "last words:+

“Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks”—then stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished. Presently a smile of ineffable sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly, and with an expression, as if of relief, “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind me say,

"The South lost the war when he died."

Startled is not a strong enough word to describe my reaction at that moment. I turned and saw another tourist who apparently had arrived after me that I had not noticed before. He was a tall man, about 40 years old, sporting a short beard. I said something inane like, "Oh....I didn't realize you were here...." Whereupon he repeated his belief that "The South lost the war the day Jackson died."

That's all he said.

He obviously felt very strongly about that. I could tell from his eyes....intense....yes, intense...maybe a little wild....

Perhaps he's a bit drunk, I thought. Whatever, it was I was not comfortable, so I made my way out of that house as quickly and as gracefully as I could. After all, how long can you stare at an empty bed.

Besides...I couldn't get "those eyes"....those wild blue eyes...out of my mind. Also, those chills I often get at Civil War sites were working overtime.

A Ghost?  No. I don't believe in ghosts.

But, as I pulled out of the small parking lot...I did notice that there were no other cars there.

I guess he walked.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Judy Anderson

By Jerry Gaudet

Judy Anderson
We are sorry to have received word through her sister that Judy Anderson Fainberg died the end of 2014 in Encinitas, CA. No other details are available.

"Best All Around"
An Internet search indicates she may have died 11/17/14.  Peggy Bedsol Gandy related that Judy suffered for many years from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Judy also had three daughters, but no contact information is available.  Judy's husband, Bert, had died a few years earlier.


Sunday, July 26, 2015


Like many Charlotteans and particularly CHS graduates Charles Kuralt is considered by many of us as "our special celebrity."  I know he was very special to me.  I got to know him at UNC and worked for him on the Student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. I had never read this particular interview before......perhaps it's new to you as well.  Enjoy.

Excerpts from 1996 interview with Academy of Achievement
Kuralt's first journalism teacher, Anne BattenI HAD SEVERAL TEACHERS BEFORE college who were encouraging to me. In eighth grade there was a teacher named Anne Batten, who was the journalism counselor to the little school paper that we put out. She made me believe that I could do good work, and there were others. Thinking back on that, I am pretty sure that's what people of that age—seventh, eighth, ninth graders—need more than anything else. Just a little bit of encouragement. They need to believe, 'This is something I can do.' They need a compliment once in a while. Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.
Pictureds: Anne Batten, Kuralt's first journalism teacher, at Alexander Graham Junior High School in Charlotte.

Charles Kuralt accepting Ernie Pyle AwardWHEN I FINALLY WENT TO WORK for my hometown newspaper, my folks were still very helpful to me. I think my mother had more doubts about my being a reporter than my father did. My father was a public figure. He was in the press all the time, trying to keep the county commission from cutting welfare benefits to poor children, and all that kind of thing. And it was a conservative community, so he was on the hot seat constantly, at war with the county commissioners. And my newspaper editorially sometimes supported the other side. My mother, at least twice, canceled our family's subscription to the newspaper I was working on, because she was so mad about its treatment of my father.

Pictured: Kuralt accepting the Ernie Pyle Memorial Award from Charlotte News Managing Editor Dick Young. Kuralt received the award for his "People columns.
Charles Kuralt at CBS in the early years

I RECOGNIZE THAT I HAD a good deal of good luck in my life. For one thing, I came along at a time when it was pretty easy to get a job in journalism. I went to work at CBS News when I was about 22, and within a year or so was reporting on the air. It's impossible to imagine that happening to a young person today. In those days, television was expanding so quickly that you didn't really have to have much age and experience. Almost any warm body would do. They were hiring people in those days just about as fast as they're laying people off in broadcast news today. So that was purely a matter of luck. I didn't have the ambition to be a broadcaster. I was going to be a newspaper reporter the rest of my life, but that opportunity came along, just because I was the right age. So luck has a part in it. I keep coming back to the passion for what I was doing. That was the overwhelming thing to me. Not where I worked, or where I lived, or how high I rose in the profession, but . . . just the joy of carrying my portable typewriter to an event and trying to describe it.

I BELIEVE THAT WRITING IS DERIVATIVE. I mean, I think good writing comes from good reading. And I think that writers, when they sit down to write, hear in their heads the rhythms of good writers they have read. Sometimes I could even tell you which writer's rhythms I am imitating. It's not exactly plagiarism, but it's just experience. It's falling in love with good language and trying to imitate it.

Kuralt as Sunday Morning HostI WOKE UP ONE DAY and decided I'd done it long enough. But looking back on it, I must say, it was a very satisfying life. There is also this element: I didn't know how to do anything else. I really couldn't have succeeded in the wholesale grocery trade. This was one thing knew how to do. Of course, as anyone does, I got better at it as I got older. As I look back on it now, I think I'd have done better if I had been a little more relaxed in my life. If I had not pressed quite so hard, if I'd not lost quite so much sleep. I don't think I had a reputation as a hard worker, but inside I was always being eaten up by the pressures. And I think I probably could have done a better job if I had been more mature and been able to take a deep breath and just say, 'Come on. Whether this story gets on the air tonight or not is not really the end of the world. We'll do our best, and that's all we can do.' But I was driven. Not on the surface maybe, but I had a tight stomach all the time. I actually developed ulcers. I don't think I could get an ulcer anymore. I think I've learned better than to put all that internal pressure on myself. I had terrible migraine headaches. The funny thing is, they always came on the rare day when I had a day off. I thought of them as Sunday headaches, because as long as I kept that spring tightly wound, I was fine. When I let it relax, then I suffered, because it was such a change.

Kuralt Accepting EmmyI'D LIKE TO WRITE SOMETHING that would live. It's getting a little late. I'd better get at it if I'm going to do that. In television, you know, everything is gone with the speed of light, literally. It is no field for anybody with intimations of immortality, because your stuff, by and large, doesn't live on. It's not easy for me to admit, but I would love to write something that people would still read 50 or 100 years from now. That comes with growing older, I think. You begin to think, 'Well, what have I ever done to benefit society? What have I ever written that would excite a young reader years from now, the way Mark Twain's journalism still excited me when I first read Roughing It and Innocence Abroad?' So we can't all be Mark Twain. In fact, I guess it's fair to say, none of us can be Mark Twain, except Mark Twain. But you do begin to yearn to write some thing that gains a little permanence.

Picture of the Week

OFrom Bob Ellis:

"This is my grandaughter with my 5 great-grandkids.   She is smiling because none of them are hers. "   -Bob

Like most Julys...this one has been hot...and slow. The days, especially, the scorching and humid ones seem to go on forever.  I now know first hand why the weather bureau advises chrononologically gifted people like us to stay inside.

Of course, there are those hearty souls who ignore advice like that and continue to "go, go, go."

Letty and Don Nance

Such as the reverend Don and Letty Nance who "blessed" us with a luncetime visit last Sunday. (Notice how I begin to talk like a preacher when I'm around one.) 

Anyway, Don brought with him a couple of jars of his "heavenly" homemade jelly that I simply can't get enough of!

Tristan Alexander
I noticed that the smiles never left Don and Letty's faces during their entire visit....undoubtedly the result of their newest grandchild, Tristan Alexander (their daughter Charlotte's baby and Jackson's brother.)


Thursday, July 16, 2015

So Long, Pluto

Clyde Tombaugh
As the spaceship New Horizons sinks slowly in the West, we say goodbye to the once proud planet Pluto (now but a mere Planetoid) and "Hello" to whatever else it can find way out there in the Kuiper belt.
Venetia Burney
Clyde Tombaugh was the young astronomer who discovered "Planet X"in 1930 (which was what it was called
until 11 year old Venetia Burney suggested the name "Pluto," to her father, who's good friend was a member of the astronomers in charge of naming planets.)

Pluto's Moiuntains

Clyde was on that New Horizons spaceship, by the way.  At least some of his ashes were. Information from this mission will be downloading for the next 9 months, so there may be a lot of "surprises" from the "by pass" of Pluto yet to come.  But two are already apparent:  there are mountains on Pluto, and there are no craters, such as those which are found on all the other planets. Scientists will have to come up with some explanation for that.

NASA  New Horizons Team

My hat's off to the NASA people who made this space mission so successful, and my eternal thanks to them for helping take my mind off  the mission here on earth by our President and Congress to............(fill in the blank)

And just in case, there are a few Americans left who are paying any attention at all to our out of control Government, a new diversion has just been introduced to the public:

Adult Coloring Books!

Adult Coloring Book

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A New Wildcat!

Tristan Alexander Allbright
You may have thought all the all the excitement and celebration going at Don and Letty Nance's house last week was because of our National 4th of July holiday. Well, a little of that, but most of it was because of he birth of their daughter Charlotte's brand new baby, Tristan Alexander Allbright! 

He was born July 3, 2015 and weighed 9 lbs, 13 ozs!

Tristan's brother, Jackson, was the one who came up with the name Tristan.  Not sure he was a aware of what, in addition to it's dynamic sound, a good name it was.  Tristan was one of King Arthur's Knights as well as the name immortalized in Wagner's beautiful Opera Tristan and Isolde.

Tristan is Don and Letty's 7th grandchild!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pluto Update

Good news.
NASA's Horizons Spacecraft was able to find PLUTO and snap a few pics from only 3.3 million miles away showing some of its geologic of which is now called 'the Whale."
“We’re close enough now that we’re just starting to see Pluto’s geology,” said New Horizons program scientist Curt Niebur, NASA Headquarters in Washington, who’s keenly interested in the gray area just above the whale’s “tail” feature. “It’s a unique transition region with a lot of dynamic processes interacting, which makes it of particular scientific interest.” 

Some of the sturctures indentified in this new image are apparently "polygonal features." and a "complex band of terrain about 1,000 miles long. 

New Horizon's principal investigator, Alan Stern, said,  “After nine and a half years in flight, Pluto is well worth the wait.”

If you say so, Al.  New Horizon's next and final pictures will be taken on July 14th.

Meanwhile, the Dwarf Planet Cere's "bright lights" continue to be a mystery.  The next "closer" flyby will be in early August.
Lights on Ceres
Stay tuned.


Friday, July 10, 2015


One never knows who will show up at one of our LDLs.

But, any CHS graduate, or friend of a CHS graduate who wants to join us at Jimmies of Mint Hill, is welcome!

And....a personal note....Try to remember to take your camera you can send some snap shots to me so I can share them with our other class members!  



This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
We're sending you this personal invitation to join in.  We'd like to see you.  Help us spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Just be sure YOU, come!


Citizen of the Year!

Jerry Gaudet reports:

Congratulation to Mary (Sandra Schulken) Costner on being honored by the Forest City NC Kiwanis Club as "Citizen of the Year"!
Sandra Schulken (Middle)

The attached article was published in the June 9, edition of the Forest City newspaper. Our thanks to Erika Meyer of the Daily Courier for providing the electronic copy.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

An Oldie, But Goodie

With this nation's birthday coming up, I think it's a good time to "re-play" this classic from 1973.

This is about the country we grew up in, and loved.

Gordon Sinclair
The Americans

This editorial was broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair on 5 June 1973 as the United States was withdrawing from Vietnam
"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States. When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

"When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped. The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

"I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC-10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International Airlines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon?

"You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon — not once, but several times — and safely home again.
"You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

"When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the American who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

"Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.

Stand proud, Americans!"

Sinclair published two autobiographies,  Will the Real Gordon
Sinclair Please Stand Up was published in 1966, followed in 
1975 by a sequel, Will Gordon Sinclair Please Sit Down.

Gordon Sinclair passed away in 1984.